Thanks for visiting! I should warn you that I’m rather new to this and bound to make some rookie mistakes as I learn to blog. Please bear with me and do suggest ways I can improve!
So what’s the purpose of this rather pretentiously named blog? That’s simple enough: My hope to is help you be a better parent, and/or understand your parents better.
What I bring to the party that’s a little different is that my parents came from Korea in 1949. I grew up in the heartland of the country in the ’60s and ’70s (when there were relatively few Asian Americans… and even fewer Korean Americans) and became the father of twins in 1996 – at the tender age of 40. Raising my son and daughter forced me to confront many of my fixed ideas about the role of a (Asian) father, and more importantly, how and WHY I had been raised (in various ways) by my own parents. Over time I realized that much of my parenting was repeating the way I had been raised by two well-meaning, loving immigrant parents – who came from a wholly different culture and millieu.
However, I had the good fortune of taking many classes on parenting, being mentored by a number of wise people (themselves parents), teaching college students who are the children of immigrant parents from around the globe, and having a very patient wife and two wonderfully understanding children. Over the years I developed what I refer to as the “Dragon Father” approach to parenting. You can get a good sense of what I mean by this by watching the video linked below.
You should know that I majored in East Asian studies in college, upon graduation lived in Korea for a year, and have spent a good part of the last four decades trying to figure out what being “Korean” and “Korean American” means. Much of my parenting perspectives are informed by or are in response to what I’ve come to understand about Korean/Asian values, traditions and culture. I hope to share many of these insights with you.
Much of what I will write concerns differences between North East Asia (Korea, China and Japan) and the West. A timely and important example of these differences is the dragon. European (Western) dragons are malevolent, fire-spitting demons who hoard gold and virgins (both of which they have little use for). In the Far East dragons also fly through the sky, but unlike their Western cousins (inflicted with incendiary halitosis) Asian dragons are associated with good fortune, achievement, and rain. They are typically depicted frolicking in stormy skies amid grey clouds, thunder and lightning. These dragons are bringers of rain and as such were seen as good omens in ancient (agriculturally dependent) China. In fact the dragon was the symbol of the Emperor of China, as he the “Son of Heaven” was deemed an living intermediary between mankind and Heaven. Fun Fact: For many years in China, only the imperial dragon – representing the Emperor and his family, could have five claws at the end of each arm or leg. Anyone not of the imperial family bearing a five clawed dragon emblem (which most closely resembled the five fingers or toes of a human hand or foot) could be and often was executed.
I hope you have found this post interesting. I don’t want to press my luck, so I’ll save more dragon stuff for future posts. I plan on posting a new entry next week. Til then thanks for your interest and kind attention.